HUNTINGTON, WV- Venerable and prolific psychedelic alt-rockers, The Church, have released their 27th studio album entitled, “Eros Zera and the Perfumed Guitars”. It is the follow-up to 2023’s “The Hypnogogue”, and serves as the companion to the album. Steven Kilby remains as the voice, bassist and the sole original member of the band, which is competently rounded out by drummer Tim Powle, guitarists Ian Haug and Ashley Naylor and multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Cain.

Expounding and expanding on the concept of the previous album which introduced us to the protagonist, Eros Zeta journey to reclaim his throne as the “biggest rock star of 2054.”  Through the 15 tracks on the album, the listener is treated to Cinematic swells and musical plot twists. There are moments of peace and moments of toil, heavily laden with melancholy, with Kilby providing the ghostly narrative over well orchestrated instrumentation that pulls at the heartstrings and pulls you deeper into the story.

The album opens with the hypnotic “Realm of Minor Angels” which sets the new chapters pace, showing Zeta’s use of the machine, also serving as the first single, which the band filmed a video for. The ever-present goth/psychedelia sensibilities that are the trademark of the band are evident throughout the 15 tracks. But the band gives us some musical curveballs as well. The chugging machina of “The Weather” for instance. This song proves to be my favorite of the album and gives me visions of actually being part of the machine, reminiscent of something found on Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” Other early favorites are “Manifesto,” “Immediate Future” and “Song From The Machine”.

The band continues to translate emotions through their music, in the case of “Sleeping for Miles,” I found myself understanding the plight of the characters whilst feeling the dreamy reflections it seems to convey. “Last Melody” follows suit of reflection before the chaotic “A Strange Past” which sits at a hefty 9 and a half minutes and takes us on the wild journey Zeta has been on. Closing somber instrumental track “Music from The Ghost Hotel” puts an enigmatic stamp on the saga. I can envision that during this song we would see how the surviving characters end up.

I had the opportunity to speak with Steven Kilby and pick his brain on the subject of the story.

The Church at Madison Theater 10/13/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for
The Church at Madison Theater 10/13/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for


BLURRED CULTURE: Hi Steve, thank you for taking the time to correspond with me.  First let me say congratulations on your 27th album. That’s not an easy feat in the lifetime of a band. How have you evolved through the last 44 years? 

STEVE KILBEY: Well a lot of things have occurred to me during those 44 years. A lot of things I never thought about before. Being a songwriter, playing in a band, there are so many aspects to get right. I’m constantly reassessing the game. We have also obviously evolved by shedding the players who didn’t want to be involved and absorbing new ones who do want to go on redefining the original idea of The Church. And that is to push the boundaries of our genre and have good lyrics and good guitars. Don’t slavishly follow the zeitgeist. Be resilient and patient. Have confidence in the process of creating music. Hold up very high ideals and make music that challenges the astute listener whilst remaining within the parameters you’ve set for yourself.

The Hypnogogue and now the new album are your first true concept albums, where did the inspiration for the characters come from? Are they caricatures of people you know?  

The whole idea and all the characters came to me slowly bit by bit. It was not a giant flash of revelation, I wish it was, but as we started making The Hypnogogue I started wanting to write lyrics that made no sense to me at all. But it was the story unfolding in my mind. At first nobody really seemed to like it much. But I was dimly convinced there was a good idea in here somewhere and a way for this newly reconfigured church to make its first statement of intent.

All the people in the novella are loosely based on real people. I mean the way Eros goes about his life is pretty much just me. He aint no hero, he’s not even an anti-hero, he just a bloke drifting along in the music biz. And so yes, there are ex-guitarists and ex-managers and ex-girlfriends etc. etc. And yes, everyone in this book is a bit of a caricature in some way. It’s not a deep literary dive into these characters.

Is the Hypnogogue a statement about what we are currently facing with AI technology?  

The Hypnogogue has accidentally come out at the same time that AI has seriously reared its brilliant but definitely ugly head. I never intended it to have a moral and yet it does. It has a few morals actually. And if humanity embraces things like AI and Hypnogogue and other fake ways of creating art and life, there will always be a price to pay. And beware (! If you like.) There’s no such thing as a free lunch! But still if I was Eros, I’d probably give something like this a shot! Think of it: something that dredges not just your mind but all your past lives for music. Imagine it!

I notice there seems to be a stark contrast between the 2 albums. The Hypnogogue, seems to be bright and cheery and gives me technicolor visions of the story telling, whilst the Perfumed guitars seems decidedly darker in comparison at least musically. It feels at some points that I’m in the machine.  Was this a forethought when writing and recording? 

Well there you go! I would have thought it was the other way round and that Hypnogogue was darker and Eros Zeta and The Perfumed Guitars was lighter. However, it turns out it was not planned. The music turns into whatever it wants to turn into, and I understand it all at the end and then make sense of it. 

What was the recording timeline of the albums? Were they recorded individually or at the same time?  

The Hypnogogue got recorded over a few years interrupted by the covid fiasco, but it had a lot more work put in than EZ. Some of the tracks were leftover from the Hypnogogue including “Strange Past,” “Pleasure” and “Song 18.” In stark contrast Eros Zeta was pretty much done in a week and also features two tracks done in an Omaha NE conference room (“Manifesto” and “Music from the Ghost Hotel”). 

I understand you are currently writing a novella to flesh out the story more? How is the writing of it coming?  

The novella was finished and has been on sale for a while. It was hard work but I’m happy with how it turned out. I applied the same processes that I do with music, and I let the story and characters go wherever it wanted within my loose guidelines.

The Church. Press photo. Used with permission.
The Church. Press photo. Used with permission.

Will the Novella solely be available on the upcoming tour or will it be available on your website? I would love to dig into the story more as I find it quite intriguing. It seems like a true Rock and Roll story with all the highlights and tragedies that can happen.  

The novella was on sale at gigs and will be so again on the next tour. For people who really want to dive deep I will also have an EP for sale that I did on my own that purports to be by Pandora Mod-Z-Art who are Eros Zeta’s musical heroes that will be available at gigs on US tour. I’m pretty pleased with it. 

My first experience with you was the album “HeyDay”’that a friend of mine turned me onto back in the 80’s. My first live experience with you was a show at the Hollywood Palladium with Peter Murphy and Concrete Blonde in the bill. I was also able to catch the “Starfish” 30th anniversary show at the Regent in LA and the most recent was on the “Hypnogogue Returns” show in Covington, KY. I must say I am a fan of the way your shows are structured with 2 full sets and no opener. Is there any chance in the future of doing both albums in their entirety with maybe some visuals to go along with it, like what Queesryche did with Operation: Mindcrime 1 & 2?  

I would love nothing more than doing both albums in their entirety! Wouldn’t that be fun? However unfortunately we will only be doing a 90-minute set due to the fact that we have two other acts on the bill with this next tour.

Maybe it’s the MTV generation in me, but your music has inspired visions to go along with the incredibly cinematic music. For instance, “Ascendence” I can see the camera speeding over white fields of snow and coming to a stop at a lone figure in the middle of the wasteland. Conversely, “The Weather” gives me grey visions of metal and steam. Did you have any visions of the story as you were writing the songs? 

Yeah I see all that stuff too. I see our music as being very vision-inducing. I feel the cold of Antarctica and the cold of Korea in winter. I see the claustrophobic feel of the rainy future and I see the overgrown vegetation and the steampunk nature of the Hypnogogue itself. I see it all very clearly.

The Church at Madison Theater 10/13/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for
The Church at Madison Theater 10/13/23. Photo by Michael Bunuan (@Michael_Bunuan_Photogrpahy) for

The instrumentation on the albums is incredible. How do you feel with your current line up vs the original band or any of the previous line ups?  

Let there be no doubt. Every player who has ever passed through The Church has been a brilliant musician. The trouble was that some didn’t want to go on participating in the idea of The Church and thus their brilliance was somewhat mitigated. 

It’s understandable that after a long time the other players wanted to go out and do their own thing. I wish them luck. I’m very happy with the current band. We have some wonderful players who also want to harness themselves to the idea of The Church for the greater musical good!

Being in a band is a team effort. Everyone is part of the machine and understands the whole is dependent on the individuals sublimating their egos, so the band becomes the important thing. That didn’t always happen in the past; now it happens every single night

Again, thank you for your time, Steve. I wish you great success with the albums and the upcoming tour.  

Thank you for your thought provoking questions! 


The Church continues to prove their ability to balance quality and quantity. Under Kilby’s continued guidance and experience they will, no doubt be making new music for the foreseeable future. The band is set to tour the album this summer. My hope is given their current blueprint of touring of 2 full sets and no opener, they may perhaps give us a tour playing both albums in their entirety with some visuals, much like Queensryche did with Operation: Mindcrime 1&2. It is also reported that Steve is writing an accompanying novella to flesh out the story more which will be available at the merch booth. Suffice it to say, “The Perfumed Guitars” is an epic equal to its predecessor, “The Hypnogouge”, I highly recommend listening to both.

Follow The Church on Facebook, Instagram and X.


The Church. Press photo. Used with permission.
The Church. Press photo. Used with permission.